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Marketing and Motivating Boomers and Beyond

Archive for the ‘60+’ Category

Giraffes, Cheetahs and Seniors, Oh My!

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

How Road Scholar Effectively Targets Older Travelers

Intergenerational travel

2_Grandma_Safari

Road Scholar Couple Hiking

 

 

 

Creating Results’ Twitter feed recently shared an article about Road Scholar (formerly Elderhostel) and we were surprised by the flurry of new interest it sparked in this ‘grandaddy’ of educational travel resources for older adults. Several folks shared the tweet with their own followers and many said they were now checking out Road Scholar’s website.

It’s no wonder that Road Scholar is of interest. The 55+ travel market is 4.4 million strong and is made up of active older adults with the time, income and inclination to explore the world beyond their own neighborhoods. Whether living in homes they’ve owned for 30 years or in retirement communities, many boomers and seniors are filling their time (and fulfilling their bucket lists) by traveling. This group is geared toward learning, “giving back” and wellness, and the travel market is learning to cater to those interests.

Woman on Computer

An Untapped Boomer and Seniors Market

The U.S. Travel Association finds that boomer consumers comprise 15 percent of leisure travelers, averaging 4.4 leisure trips each year. They “consider travel a necessity, not a luxury,” according to Kim Ross of the Association of Travel Marketing Executives.

Elderhostel’s first official employee (and current Road Traveler participant) Mike Zoob puts it this way: “Today, it’s taken for granted that older adults are inquisitive and adventuresome, many of them with the means and the desire to travel and do interesting things.”

Travel and tourism researcher and blogger Bronwyn White asserts, “We will never see another demographic with so much spare cash and spare time in our marketing lifetimes–these people are gold and largely being ignored by the travel industry when it comes to marketing, particularly domestic marketing. They are being marketed to the same old way as we have been doing for the last however many years.”

Woman diverBeyond Baby Boomer Buying Power

Beyond their search for new experiences–and ability to pay for them–one factor that distinguishes how seniors approach travel is their desire for safety and comfort. Senior travel should offer adventure combined with a level of safety and security. ‘‘A lot of senior travellers are actively looking for new destinations. . . . ‘They are very active but they have to be catered for in a particular way… they want trips that are full of adventure but are well organised and not reckless,’’ says James Brodie, head of marketing at Harvey World Travel.

Dorinda Galbraith, a Road Scholar alum, explains her priorities for comfort, both physical and social: “I like Road Scholar because I can safely travel with a group [that] will be interested in learning. My meals, lodging, transportation and activities will all be arranged for me. I am single, and I love learning, adventure and meeting new people!”

A Well-Designed Online Tool for Older Travelers

Founded in 1975, Edlerhostel was a pioneer in providing affordable travel opportunities focused on lifelong learning for adults. Road Scholar continues to be the leading travel company catering to older adults, and its robust website not only reflects its mission, but is optimized for senior web usability.

The site provides comprehensive, intuitive online tools that allow this group to pursue their specific interests. Unlike “generic” travel websites (Travelocity, Expedia, Orbitz), which feature searches focused on location, accommodation type and price (and tend to have a heavy advertising component), Road Scholar offers multiple tiers of search topics targeted specifically to their demographic. With this in mind, below are some of the features we think stand out about their services and website.

RoadScholar_menusregion

Search by Region

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Search by Activity Level

7_RoadScholar_menus_activityLevel

Search by Area of Interest

Super Search

Road Scholar provides many more search criteria and menu options than AARP’s online travel section, for example, which looks more like mainstream commercial travel sites.

* Visitors can search for excursions based on areas of interest, such as Train Journeys, Art Lovers, National Parks, and Intergenerational Adventures such as Cheetahs, Giraffes and Zebras: A Safari in California With Your Grandchild.

* Trips can be searched with a filter for Activity Level (ranging from Easy to Challenging).

* Trips tailored to specific hobbies and activity types are offered, such as Birding, Crafts, Photography, Service Learning, Small Group, etc.

RoadScholar_safari

Easy Navigation

The site’s clean, simple design makes it easy to navigate–despite the relative complexity of the large number of travel options offered:

* The left sidebar features an extensive list of search/navigation topics that are easy to scroll through.

* The main content is rich with photos and brief, but informative, descriptions of their trips with an “Enroll Now!” button that leads directly to a page with detailed trip information.

* Each trip page includes highlights, program notes, activity level, trip cost, travel dates, traveler ratings and reviews, social sharing tools, Add to Wish List button, and links to other related information. These detailed pages do a great job showing both the professional organization of each trip and the adventure that awaits.

* The right sidebar contains a search window and a series of teasers in the form of graphic links to other site content.

For those seeking a rich, rewarding travel experience, it’s hard to beat the options offered by Road Scholar. And with a website that is so easy to use and offers so much information, they have set the bar high for others in this marketing space.

Coming soon! In a future blog post we will take a visual survey of a handful of other sites that either specifically target older travelers or have sections for senior travelers. Have a specific travel site you’d like us to check out? Share the link and any other insights using the comments section, below.

Mature Marketing Links of the Week: Sixty and Social

Monday, June 29th, 2015

Happy short work week…I mean Monday.  Before the barbeques and fireworks that will take place this weekend as we celebrate our Independence, we want to first take a look back on the most notable mature marketing stories that had people talking and sharing.  We hope you’ll share (and comment) too.  Have a great week.

MOST CLICKED:  Bob Garfield’s reflections on turning 60 had many people clicking this past week.  In his June blog post Garfield reflected on the early passing of his father and penned a post to share all of the missed milestones, trials and triumphs with his dad.

Living is hard. Living is gorgeous.

This was how Garfield summed it up in his “update” to his dad – focusing mainly on the gorgeous parts of life.  From stories of time spent with grown daughters living hundreds of miles away and the teenage angst of his youngest, to world happenings including great TV shows and the fall of the Berlin Wall, the author’s piece perfectly captured a life lived to the fullest and the sadness of not being able to share it with his father.

Read the full post here.

MOST SHARED:  We work with many of our clients to effectively engage boomers and seniors through social media.  Recently we shared an article outlining tips for how to use social media to promote your organization and yourself.

Here are just a few of the tips within the article:

*  When using Twitter to engage with a person or group, create an initial interaction (comment on one of their tweets or retweet something they shared) and then follow them.

*  LinkedIn is a great way to network with industry professionals.  Through LinkedIn groups you can engage in conversation and network with a number of individuals at once.

*  Facebook groups function a lot like LinkedIn groups.  The platform will then suggest related groups that you can join to expand your reach even further.

While these are tips mainly focused on how to expand your personal network, many of the points hold true when promoting your organization and engaging senior prospects through social media.  Visit our website to discover how you can expand your social reach when you read a case study detailing how we worked with one developer of 55+ communities to reach their active adult prospects through social media.

 And be sure to check out more tips within the full article here.

WORTH REPEATING: Read the first in our new blog series of Marketing Engagement Stories, penned by our very own Beth Spohn.  The post includes insights from Larry Guengerich of Landis Communities on creative marketing engagement opportunities and take aways for senior living.  Read the full post here.

Mature Marketing Links of the Week – Bills and Builders

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

Just when I’ve gotten into the swing of Sunday, Monday appears … Time for our weekly round-up of resources for mature marketing!

1. MOST CLICKED: Veteran journalist Bill Moyers has been looking closely at aging in America for some time on his site, billmoyers.com, and his readers have reacted by posting their own stories of concern. Paul Buchheit’s contribution to the conversation became the most clicked item of last week.

“It’s Time To Stop Discarding the Elderly,” Buchheit writes, labeling current economic and political attitudes a form of elder abuse.

“Financial exploitation comes from the banking industry; neglect emanates from the halls of Congress; and emotions are stirred through the stories of impoverished seniors …”

Read the post, which is chock full o’ links to stats and stories: http://bit.ly/1IZrPOL

US serviceman points at the G.I. Bill of RightsAnother Kind of Bill: We couldn’t let June 22 go by without marking a major anniversary. On June 22, 1944, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed into law a bill that would change America. The G.I. Bill would offer servicemen returning from World War II a range of support, from low-interest home loans to unemployment benefits to funds for higher education.

FDR was trying to prevent a repeat of the economic depression that happened after World War I. The G.I. Bill went on to drive a period of unrivaled prosperity, a 30-year economic expansion that benefited and shaped the Silent Generation and the Baby Boomers. It also completely changed the way higher education was viewed. Today’s Millennials, the most educated generation in history, have this 71-year-old legislation to thank for making college accessible beyond the nation’s wealthiest families.

RELATED: Marketing to Veterans as a Sub-Group of Mature Consumers

2. MOST SHARED: Builders — whether they’re offering age-qualified (55+ housing) communities or stand-alone homes — should be aware that baby boomers are not going to take an “off-the-shelf model.”

Tim McCarthy from Traditions of America (a Creating Results client) offered his thoughts on “The New American Home” for Yahoo! Finance. It’s a look at trends from pet suites to spa baths, many of which are trickling down from Boomers to Millennials.

Read the article: http://yhoo.it/1QLUiie

 

Mature Marketing Links of the Week: Booze and Brands

Monday, June 15th, 2015

Happy Monday!  This week the mature marketing stories that generated the most interest are brought to you by the letter “B”. Have something to share?  Please be sure to note in the comment section – we’d love to hear from you.

MOST SHARED: An apple aKey to Longevity day keeps the doctor away.  Some say this is the secret to longevity, others say a cup of coffee a day.  But if you ask Pauline Spagnola, a Pennsylvania resident who just turned 100, what her secret is she will tell you something different.  According to a recent article Pauline shared that her secret to a long, happy life is… “a lot of booze”.  Happy Birthday Pauline.

Read the article.

MOST CLICKED: When it comes to brand loyalty, Gen X is the most loyal but Gen Y will soon position themselves as the biggest spenders.  This, according to an article in The Sydney Herald regarding how different age cohorts respond to brand marketing.

The boomers are entering retirement largely healthy, energetic and cashed-up. They are spending money on meaningfully connecting to themselves, their family and friends. Excited by travel and technology, they refuse to be defined by their years, creating the notion of agelessness.

The article highlights research by a British trend forecaster who noted consumer trends by generation.  Additional insights include:

*  Gen Y consumers are poised to overtake Boomers as the biggest spenders. They also expect brands to engage with them digitally.

*  Generation Jones is described as “cautious spenders” who gravitate towards brands and products that are sustainable.

* Gen Xers are the most brand loyal and place high importance on value for their money (meaning they are always looking for a deal).

What does this mean for mature marketers? It is  important to understand the desires and motivators of your target marketing, regardless of their generation.  This understanding will help you effectively foster brand loyalty and maximize your marketing dollars.

Read more insights here.

 

 

Mature Marketing Links of the Week: Aging in Place and Education

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

The mature marketing stories of the past week that drew the most interest focus on helping seniors successfully age in place and the connection between boomers and seniors and higher test scores in schools.  Have something to share?  We’d love to hear from you.

MOST CLICKED: LeadingAge, an association of not-for-profit organizations dedicated to helping seniors, recently shared insights regarding older adults and aging in place.  According to the article, lower-income seniors have the  greatest need for aging in place, as they typically have the greatest difficulty finding affordable senior living solutions that offer levels of additional assistance.

According to Robyn Stone, Executive Director for LeadingAge’s Center for Applied Research:

Onerous housing costs can swallow up a big chunk of an older person’s monthly budget, reducing the amount of money available for essentials like food and health care.

The article detailed how several states are examining what they can do to help financially challenged seniors age within their current homes, specifically by providing medical and other services.

One retirement community, Sanborn Place in Reading MA, was noted in the article as a “pioneer” in this effort. The community has set aside 73 of their apartments for residents who may need some assistance in remaining independent and prefer to remain within their homes.

According to the author, providing the best options for independence, either within a community or an existing home requires a new way of approaching senior living.  At Creating Results, we’ve found that organizations who embrace this new reality can successfully reach a wider audience and help even more seniors live well.  We’d love to hear your thoughts – be sure to comment below.

Read the full article.

MOST SHARED: Seniors and kids need each other, according to a recent blog post within the HuffPost.  The piece chronicled the journey of The Intergenerational School in Cleveland, which pairs students within low-income areas and seniors to make a difference academically. The result? Higher test scores among all participants.

The author notes the reason for the success is the student’s strong need for “emotional and academic support” and the desire of local seniors to play a part in the success of younger generations. Additionally, the ability of seniors to form closer relationships with younger generations and their desire to help people succeed.

The author concludes the post by noting:

With 10,000 boomers a day turning 65, it’s time for society to mirror biology and itself “flow downhill,” to encourage and enable connections that mine this vast human capital of older people in ways that contribute to a better futures for future generations. To be sure, an aging America will bring challenges and tradeoffs as well as opportunities, but this is all the more reason to make the most of what we have.

 Read the full piece here.

Mature Marketing Links of the Week – Muddled, Mobile Middle Age

Monday, May 4th, 2015

“As you grow older you will discover you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.”

- Audrey Hepburn (born this day in 1929)

Every Monday, we round-up the mature marketing items that got the most engagement across our various social channels and deliver them directly to you. Read on for last week’s top attention-getters!

Quote on aging from NBC TODAY Show

NBC TODAY Show http://on.today.com/1DZGTYh

1. MOST CLICKED: People are aging more slowly than we think. That’s the conclusion reached by researchers from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIAS) in Austria and Stony Brook University in New York. Per NBC Health contributor Joan Raymond,

“In this new study, researchers looked at the population composition of 39 European countries. They then compared the proportion of the population that was categorized as “old” by virtue of chronology alone — being age 65 — to the proportion based on a newer measure of age that they developed, which includes changes in life expectancy.”

In other words, longer life spans have meant that concepts such as “middle age” are shifting and changing. A TODAY Show piece looks at the research and adds a little of what Creating Results calls “me-search” — anecdotes and personal takes on the topic.

Watch the video: http://on.today.com/1DZGTYh

2. MOST SHARED: CR’s Sally O’Donnell took a look at Google’s recent algorithm changes, and offered insights for mature marketing.

Should you panic or prepare?

We recommend you read the post, then share with your team: http://bit.ly/1JLqA8A

3. Also of note

* The World’s Oldest Nations by Population and the Implications. While Japan keeps its hold on the #1 spot, Europe claims the rest of the spots on a top 10 list of the oldest countries.

“Demographic experts suggest that the world as a whole has been aging rapidly over the last two decades: UN population projections for 1999 showed, for example, that more than half the global population was older than 26.4 years of age.” http://bit.ly/1JkDVRK

* Professional experience as a remote programmer and personal experience as a caregiver led one man to focus his company on aging-in-place technology. An interesting look at some of the new health tech. http://bit.ly/1GUiZ3N

* Could artificial intelligence technology begin to impact 50+ communities? Senior Housing News suggests IBM’s Watson could be “The Brains Behind Smarter Senior Living.” http://bit.ly/1F1jifC

* I often feel chained to my mobile phone. Apparently, that attitude shifts with age, as seniors are the age group most likely to say a smartphone is “a liberating experience.” http://pewrsr.ch/1FKqsng

seniors smartphones liberating.Pew

We hope you’ll feel free to tell us how you feel about this post, or any mature marketing topic! Please use the comments tool, below.

Mature Marketing Links of the Week: Top This!

Monday, April 27th, 2015

Happy Monday! This week our mature marketing stories of the past week which drew the most interest explore a new top 10 list and a tale of 4 technologies.  Have something to share?  We’d love to hear from you – just leave your thoughts in our comment section.

MOST CLICKED: If you want to reside in one of the “most livable neighborhoods”, a new AARP tool suggests you try Madison, Wisconsin or Downtown Crossing in Boston.  According to an article in USA Today, the tool was designed to help everyone, including the mature consumer.  If living in Wisconsin or Boston doesn’t sound appealing try Sioux Falls, South Dakota or  downtown Seattle.  Both are tops on the list.

The ranking looks at several factors including housing, health, environment, transportation and more. For senior living communities, residing within one of these top areas could be an important distinction to highlight as you share what places your communities heads above the rest.

The tool can help city planners, local officials and others who want to improve their cities so people can age in place, which is what most older adults want to do, Harrell says. The group has expanded the definition of aging in place to include people either remaining in their home or staying in the same community in other possible housing options.

Not looking for just most livable when considering where to live?  The index also looks at areas based on other considerations.  For example, if you want to stay healthy consider Novato, CA.  Want to make new friends?   Your best bet is Richmond, VA.

Learn more.

MOST SHARED: According to a recent article in Ad Age, there are 4 technologies that are emerging as leads for how marketers approach storymaking.

Now, I should caution regarding use of any new technologies for reaching a mature market.  Bright and shiny is nice…but only if it is effective.  As with any new strategy or avenue, it’s important to have an understanding of your audience and if they will be receptive to a new channel before you put your marketing eggs in that basket.  That being said, these are very interesting and exciting ways to harness technology to tell the story of your brand.

In the article the author highlights 4 specific technologies as well as recommendations for how they can be effectively leveraged.  These technologies include:

*  Video streaming: Specifically, using this avenue to make your audience a part of the story through social integration.

*  Wearables: Using the POV from wearable technologies to create a brand story unique to each and every individual.

*  Virtual Reality: With this the individual becomes a part of the story.

* Messaging apps: Creating unique messages based on messaging app portal for a branded experience.

According to the article, when it comes to using technology:

The most successful uses of technology will make the technology itself invisible, and the storymaking itself may go unnoticed. Your audience will just appreciate that your messaging speaks to them in such a relevant way that it’s a springboard for creating their stories.

Click here to read the full article.

Mature Marketing Links of the Week – No Retirement for You

Monday, April 20th, 2015

Happy Monday!  This week our mature marketing stories of the week focus on how poor planning can thwart your retirement dreams and the impact of cyber distractions on productivity.  Have something to share?  We’d love to hear from you.

MOST CLICKED: I admit it, the thought of retirement and how far away it may be has given me pause when it comes to thinking about how well I should be planning NOW for my future.  And it looks like I’m not alone in this misguided mindset. Lack of financial planning hits all generations…but boomers regret it the most.  This is according to insights within a recent Chicago Tribune article.  The article featured insights from a Genworth Study that examined the financial planning behaviors (or lack of) among all generations.

But ask Baby Boomers now in or nearing retirement and they will tell you the one thing they wish they could have more of is time. Not only time to enjoy life, but time to go back and start investing to make their money grow. Time leverages money.

More insights from the study:

*  More than 1/2 of all adults have made no financial arrangements for their retirement.

*  4 in 10 Boomers have noted regrets about not sufficiently planning.

*  47% of unmarried seniors rely on social security for 90% of their monthly income.

*  70% of people will require long term care at some point in their lives.

The article offers the following advice: save now. Even if in small increments, automatically deducting money now whether in the form of your 401K or other auto-savings will help you in the long run.  Because no matter how long we deny it, retirement will be more expensive than we plan and the more we can do now to prep for it the better.  Advice I will certainly take myself.

Read the full article here.

MOST SHARED: Cyber distractions are real…and, well, a huge distraction. 70% of children age 8 and under used some sort of mobile device last year, setting a trend for even more cyber distractions as we age, according to an article from the BBC.

While electronic interruptions disturb people of all ages, millennials are more tightly tethered to their computers and phones, obsessively checking texts, email and social media sites.

In a world where information is just a check of the phone away, many are getting so distracted by what the article termed ‘cyberslacking’.

Research shows that millennials are more likely to say that this attachment has led to a decrease in work productivity.  But many are saying that they want to do better, with 70% of respondents to a recent survey examining the phenomena reporting interest in tactics for strengthening their focus.  Companies are even exploring ways they can assist in this renewed desire to step away from the smartphone, with no device policies at meetings or encouraging email checks just twice daily.

Do you own your mobile device or does it own you?

Read the full article here.

 

 

Email Is Digital Peak for Seniors: How Can Your Program Scale to Higher Heights?

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

Email is still the top preferred digital channel among baby boomers and seniors. This fact was uncovered through Creating Results national Social, Silver Surfers research in 2010 and 2013. Recent MarketingSherpa research noted the same trend when they surveyed people regarding their preferred channels of communication with brands.

According to the article:

While most people preferred email across all age groups, email was the exception when it came to digital media. There was in fact a pretty significant digital divide:
*  27% of 18 to 34 year olds want text messages from companies versus 6% of people 65 and over
*  33% of 18 to 34 year olds want to communicate through social media with companies versus 4% of people 65 and over

Email is the preferred channel for older adults. Chart from MarketingSherpa

Source: MarketingSherpa

When Creating Results surveyed more than 800 boomers and seniors as part of our Social, Silver Surfers research we found similar insights.

* What was their favorite tool for sharing website content? 77% said they email links to friends and family, using the built-in “email-a-friend” tool.

* What is the dominant social platform? When asked to name a social network, 11% of Social, Silver Surfers cited email! For them, email IS social and this preference grows stronger with age.Email as Social Network, by Age

In the Social, Silver Surfers ebook we even note that if you look at the top websites visited by affluent, 65+ seniors (per Quantcast), several popular websites are actually email-based portals such as Comcast.net. For many if not most older adults, email is their gateway to other online destinations, tools and purchases.

What’s Holding Your Email Program Down?

Yet … despite the fact that older adults use email … and older adults want brands to use email to communicate with them … many marketers are not investing in their email program and/or they find maximizing their email efforts challenging.

Why?

This spring we plan to launch a series of posts on MatureMarketingMatters.com that focuses on email marketing to baby boomers ands seniors. We’ll share insights, case studies, inspiring examples of effective campaigns. To make sure these tips are most relevant and useful to YOU, please tell us:

If you can’t see the poll above, please click here to take this one-question survey. Then check back in the coming weeks for advice to maximize your efforts via this preferred channel.

RELATED:
Conversations not Campaigns
15 Boomer and Senior Marketing Insights for 2015

Mature Marketing Links of the Week: Technology and Longevity

Monday, April 13th, 2015

Spring has sprung..as have my  allergies – but that won’t stop us from explore this week’s mature marketing stories of note that had people talking and clicking.  Read on to discover how technology and postponing retirement may impact your boomer and senior target market.  Have something to share?  We’d love to hear your comments.

MOST CLICKED: “There’s an app for that”…and boomers are using them.  According to a recent chart from GlobalWebIndex, 17% of Boomers age 45 – 54 and 9% of those 55 – 64 used a shopping app in the last month.  The insights are based on a recent survey of the online buying habits of people in more than 32 countries.  While the younger demographics are Senior usage of apps for shoppingmore inclined to utilize apps for shopping, more mature consumers are adapting to the trend.  And as more people own smartphones this number is sure to increase.

So what does this mean for those targeting the mature consumer?  Even if you do not offer online shopping, it’s important to understand that Boomers and Seniors are on-the-go and mobile.  In fact, we discovered in our Social, Silver Surfers research that 37% of boomers and seniors will reject your community based solely on your website and their ability to easily access their desired information.  Ensure all of your digital efforts are optimized for mobile and tablets to ensure ease of interaction with your website to effectively capture this market.

Read more here.

MOST SHARED: Putting off retirement could translate to a longer, happier life.  It’s true, at least according to an article in MoneySense. In the article the author referenced the book The Longevity Project, which detailed 8 decades of research following the lives of 1,500 people. This survey found that many who put off retiring reported living longer and being happier.

Specifically, the article highlighted the following points:

* Life is expensive enough but even the prospect of living longer than you once thought should give you pause about retiring at the peak of your powers.

* If you value a long life, a happy productive career is likely to aid your longevity. And if you’re working longer, that solves the problem of running out of money before you run out of life.

For senior living communities, the reality is that your younger residents may still be working when they move to your community.  Plan programs and offerings in the evenings and weekends so they can still enjoy the lifestyle you offer and socialize with fellow residents.

Read the full article here.

WORTH REPEATING: Don’t forget to read our March Madness blog post by Creating Results’ own Jessica Ruhle, where she shares insights and opportunities from the recent LeadingAge conferences in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Read the post here.


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